China: Enforcement Of Arbitral Awards In China – A Ray Of Light?

Last Updated: 13 April 2017
Article by Richard Bell


Ennead Architects International LLP v. Fuli Nanjing Dichan Kaifa Youxian Gongsi (2016) Su 01 RenGang No.1 (13 December 2016), (Nanjing Intermediate People's Court of Jiangsu Province).

In September 2012, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), which is the biggest and longest established arbitration centre in China, established a branch in Hong Kong (CIETAC Hong Kong).  The branch was established to further CIETAC's international profile and to enable parties with China related disputes that have a connection to Hong Kong to be heard in Hong Kong.

In a recent case in the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court of Jiangsu Province (the Nanjing Court) enforcement of an award made by CIETAC Hong Kong was approved. This is the first case where the Chinese Court has made an order under the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR (the Arrangement) to enforce a CIETAC Hong Kong arbitral award.  In this article, we discuss the case and its significance in relation to the enforcement of contractual rights against Chinese parties.

The factual background

In 2015, an American Architectural firm, Ennead Architects International LLP (Ennead), commenced arbitration proceedings at CIETAC Hong Kong  against a Chinese property developer, Fuli Nanjing Dichan Kaifa Youxian Gongsi (Fuli Nanjing) to recover design fees and unpaid interest due under two design contracts.

The hearing took place in Hong Kong on 25 August 2015.  The tribunal issued its final award on 28 November 2015 (the Award). The Award found in favour of Ennead, and ordered Fuli Nanjing to immediately pay all of Ennead's design fees, interest and arbitration costs. Fuli Nanjing paid Ennead its design fees and arbitration costs. In relation to the interest awarded (which amounted to RMB 851,438.59), the parties agreed to enter into a settlement agreement whereby Ennead agreed to accept the lower sum of RMB 600,000 in full and final settlement provided Fuli Nanjing made payment by 31 May 2016.  The settlement agreement provided that if Fuli Nanjing did not pay the agreed sum by that date, Ennead would be able to pursue Fuli Nanjing for the entire amount interest owed under the Award.  Fuli Nanjing did not pay the settlement sum on the agreed date and so Ennead applied to the Court in Nanjing to enforce the Award for the full amount of interest awarded thereunder.

Under PRC law, the recognition and enforcement of an award issued in Hong Kong before Chinese Court is governed by the Arrangement. Article 1 of the Arrangement is a general clause for recognition and enforcement, which reads as follows:

Where one party fails to perform an arbitral award made in the Mainland or the Hong Kong SAR, the other party may apply for the enforcement of the arbitral award to the competent court at the place of domicile of the respondent or at the place where the respondent's property is located.

Article 7 of the Arrangement sets out a number of grounds on which enforcement of award may be refused covering such matters as the incapacity of one of the parties, procedural irregularities in the appointment of the tribunal or during the course of the arbitration proceeding or the suspension or setting aside of the award by the court of the seat of the arbitration.

On 13 December 2016, the Nanjing Court ruled to enforce the Award.

The Court found that the Award did not trigger any of the exceptions against recognition and enforcement under Article 7 of the Arrangement and so should be recognised and enforced. The decision was the first time a CIETAC Hong Kong Award has been enforced on the Mainland.


While the Chinese Courts have a reasonably good track record of recognizing foreign arbitral awards (in China, a refusal to recognize an award is subject to a fairly robust system of judicial review), enforcing an award against a Chinese entity is often more problematic.  Bureaucratic delays and favouritism towards the Chinese entity can often frustrate the enforcement of an award and deny the successful party a recovery. 

Against that background the decision in the Ennead case is a positive development.  It indicates that the Chinese Courts will enforce a CIETAC Hong Kong award against a Chinese entity provided that it satisfies the requirements of the Arrangement.

Parties entering into contracts with Chinese entities may therefore wish to consider including a dispute resolution clause in the contract referring disputes to CIETAC Hong Kong. If the decision in Ennead is anything to go by, an arbitral award made by CIETAC Hong Kong may have a better chance of being enforced  in the Mainland than an award issued under the rules of some other international arbitration institution because it will be viewed as an award issued by a leading arbitral institution in China.

Time will tell, however, as to whether the decision in the Ennead case will be followed in other enforcement cases.

Enforcement Of Arbitral Awards In China – A Ray Of Light?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions